Skip to main content

Kawauchi 6th on Stage at Saitama Ekiden With Post-Injury Cold

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20150201-00000514-sanspo-spo
http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2015/02/01/kiji/K20150201009732430.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Things are tough all over for the civil servant runner.  2014 Asian Games marathon bronze medalist Yuki Kawauchi (27, Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran the 82nd edition of the six-stage, 42.195 km Saitama Ekiden on Feb. 1.  Running its longest stage, the 12.1 km Third Stage, Kawauchi clocked 3:15 slower than his own course record, timed at 39:28 for 6th on the stage but still advancing the Saitama Prefectural Government team from 12th to 9th.

Kawauchi sat out last weekend's Okumusashi Ekiden to let the ankle he sprained late last year heal.  The pain from the sprain has dissipated to "minor discomfort," but although the wind was strong in Saitama, more than any lingering discomfort in his ankle this time he was set back by coming down with a cold on Jan. 28.  "I've been sleeping nine hours a night but have a cough and runny nose," he said.  After finishing the Third Stage he could be seen coughing violently and ashen-faced.  "I've only been jogging for the last month and have lost a lot of speed, so my breathing was labored even in the first half.  I was getting dragged along by high school students," he said.  "It was a really tough race, but I knew that without me the Saitama team wouldn't have been able to get the tasuki all the way from the start to finish so I gave them the best running I could."  After Kawauchi's run the Saitama team slipped back to 12th by the end of the race, but both that and its final time of 2:23:11 were improvements over last year's 2:27:13 18th-place finish.

Although he is not in perfect condition, Kawauchi is not considering changing his upcoming race plans.  He intends to run both the Feb. 8 Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon and the Feb. 15 Kochi Ryoma Marathon, his first time doing back-to-back full marathons.  "The problem is that I've lost fitness because I haven't been able to train properly," he said.  "I could fake the distance today, but you can't fake the distance in a full marathon.  I want to use Nobeoka to get back into shape and then really go for it in Kochi.  If I can get back to a certain level then we'll see what happens.  Today was good speed practice.  I think the benefits will follow."

Kawauchi is sitting out the selection races for this August's Beijing World Championships, setting as his main goal for the year winning December's Fukuoka International Marathon to earn a place on the team for next year's Rio de Janiero Olympics.  "My goal there is to win, period.  Up to now I've been focused on time, saying I'm going to run 2:07 and then not doing it.  I'm never going to run 2:02 or 2:03, but I can still learn better racing, to be stronger in the competition."  The main reason he sat out the World Championships selection races was to focus on honing his competitive abilities by racing internationally as much as possible.  "Looking at the other races," he said, "if you're that happy to be the top Japanese finisher I wonder whether you can really be competitive at the international level.  There is a lot of pressure on you once you make a Japanese national team.  In terms of a result it's nice if you're the best Japanese, but I want to go in with a higher mindset than that."

Comments

Most-Read This Week

How it Happened

Ancient History I went to Wesleyan University, where the legend of four-time Boston Marathon champ and Wes alum Bill Rodgers hung heavy over the cross-country team. Inspired by Koichi Morishita and Young-Cho Hwang’s duel at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics I ran my first marathon in 1993, qualifying for Boston ’94 where Bill was kind enough to sign a star-struck 20-year-old me’s bib number at the expo.

Three years later I moved to Japan for grad school, and through a long string of coincidences I came across a teenaged kid named Yuki Kawauchi down at my neighborhood track. I never imagined he’d become what he is, but right from the start there was just something different about him. After his 2:08:37 breakthrough at the 2011 Tokyo Marathon he called me up and asked me to help him get into races abroad. He’d finished 3rd on the brutal downhill Sixth Stage at the Hakone Ekiden, and given how he’d run the hills in the last 6 km at Tokyo ’11 I thought he’d do well at Boston or New York. “If M…

Kawauchi Breaks Nobeyama Ultra Course Record

2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov’t) won the longest race of his career to date Sunday in Nagano, taking over six minutes off the Yatsugatake Nobeyama Kogen 71 km Ultramarathon in 4:41:55.

A training run for next month’s Stockholm Marathon, Kawauchi set off solo at a steady pace around 3:45/km. Climbing from 1355 m to 1908 m as he approached 20 km he naturally slowed, but with over 1000 m of descent over the next 30 km he was soon back on track. Hitting the marathon split around 2:39, he was so far ahead of the 2nd placer that the announcer initially forget Kawauchi had already gone by and announced the next runner as the leader.

At 58 km Kawauchi was on track to clear 4:30:00, but hitting the uphills in the final 10 km and feeling the effects of the unfamiliar distance he slowed to almost 5:00/km. But with so much leeway to work with there was never any danger of the 4:48:13 course record slipping out of reach. Kawauchi stopped the clock in 4:41:55, please…

The Kawauchi Counter

Yuki Kawauchi's 2018 race results: Jan. 1: Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon, U.S.A.: 2:18:59 - 1st - CR
Jan. 14: Okukuma Road Race Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:03:28 - 7th
Jan. 21: Yashio Isshu Ekiden, Saitama: 1:01:03 - 1st - ran entire 20.0 km ekiden solo and beat all 103 teams of 6 runners each
Jan. 28: Okumusashi Ekiden First Stage (9.9 km), Saitama - 29:41 - 6th
Feb. 4: Saitama Ekiden Third Stage (12.1 km), Saitama - 36:54 - 4th
Feb. 11: Izumo Kunibiki Half Marathon, Shimane - cancelled due to heavy snow
Feb. 18: Kitakyushu Marathon, Fukuoka - 2:11:46 - 1st - CR
Feb. 25: Fukaya City Half Marathon, Saitama - 1:04:26 - 1st
Mar. 4: Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:04:49 - 12th
Mar. 11: Yoshinogawa Riverside Half Marathon, Tokushima - 1:05:50 - 1st - CR
Mar. 18: Wan Jin Shi Marathon, Taiwan - 2:14:12 - 1st
Mar. 24: Heisei Kokusai University Time Trials, Saitama
              5000 m Heat 4: 14:53.95 - 1st
              5000 m Heat 6: 14:36.58 - 2nd
           …